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Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Asian Pacific Islander History & Heritage Month

Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month (also known as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month) is a celebration of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States. Asian/Pacific encompasses all of the Asian continent and the Pacific islands of Melanesia (New Guinea, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Fiji and the Solomon Islands), Micronesia (Marianas, Guam, Wake Island, Palau, Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Nauru and the Federated States of Micronesia) and Polynesia (New Zealand, Hawaiian Islands, Rotuma, Midway Islands, Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Cook Islands, French Polynesia and Easter Island).

Celebrated in May, Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month, commemorates the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869, as the majority of the workers were Chinese immigrants. It also celebrates the achievements and contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States.

This celebration came about in June 1978, when Frank Horton proposed that the President set aside the 7th through the 10th of the month as ‘Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week.’ This joint resolution was passed by the House and then the Senate and was signed by President Jimmy Carter on October 5, 1978. During the next decade, presidents passed annual proclamations for Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week until 1990 when Congress expanded the observance to a month for 1990. Then in 1992, the official designation of May as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month was signed into law.

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Famous People in Asian Pacific Islander History

Deepak Chopra

Deepak Chopra

Deepak Chopra is an Indian-born American author, public speaker, alternative medicine advocate, and a prominent figure in the New Age movement. Chopra's books, audiotapes, and PBS television specials have captured the attention of a large segment of the American public. Full bio

Tammy Duckworth

Tammy Duckworth

Ladda Tammy Duckworth is a United States Senator from Illinois and former U.S. Army lieutenant colonel. She was wounded in Iraq in 2004 during her service as a National Guard pilot. Despite the loss of both legs, she became one of the first Asian American women to serve as a senator. Full bio

John Cho

John Cho

John Cho is a Korean American actor known for his roles as Harold Lee in the Harold & Kumar films. Cho also made a name for himself outside the franchise, playing Sulu in the rebooted Star Trek series of films, in addition to many other films and television shows. Full bio

Lisa See

Lisa See

Lisa See is a writer who has taken to heart the old advice to writers to write about the things that they know. Despite her red hair and freckles, See is Chinese American and a fifth generation inhabitant of Los Angeles.  Full bio

Duke Kahanamoku - Hawaii

Duke Kahanamoku

Duke Kahanamoku is considered the father of modern surfing. He developed skills that led to international fame as an Olympic champion, swimmer, and surfer. His grandfather was a Hawaiian high chief. Full Bio

Mindy Kaling

Mindy Kaling

Mindy Kaling is an award winning actress, comedian, writer, and producer. Her family immigrated to the United States in 1979 from India. Kaling devised her stage name after discovering that emcees would have trouble pronouncing her last name, Chokalingam, and sometimes made jokes about it.  Full bio

Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee

Lee Jun-fan, known professionally as Bruce Lee, was a Hong Kong-American actor, director, martial artist, martial arts instructor, and philosopher. He was the founder of the hybrid martial arts Jeet Kune Do. Lee was the son of Cantonese opera star Lee Hoi-chuen. Full bio

Yuri Kochiyama

Yuri Kochiyama

Yuri Kochiyama was best known for her work as a civil rights activist. Kochiyama was friends with Malcom X and promoted equal rights for African Americans and women. Over the years, Kochiyama fought for civil rights, Puerto Rican independence, an end to the Vietnam War, and nuclear disarmament. Full bio

Daniel K. Inouye

Daniel K. Inouye

United States Senator Daniel K. Inouye was the first American of Japanese descent to serve in the Congress. A highly decorated war hero, he served as a representative of the state of Hawaii since it entered the union, first in the House of Representatives and then in the Senate, where he served since 1962. Full bio

Michelle Wie

Michelle Wie

Michelle Sung Wie is a professional golfer. She was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, the only child of immigrant parents from South Korea. At age 10, she became the youngest player to qualify for a USGA amateur championship. Wie also became the youngest winner of the U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links. Full bio

 

Har Gobind Khorana

Har Gobind Khorana

Har Gobind Khorana was an Indian organic chemist. His work in chemical genetics earned him: Merck Award of the Chemical Institute of Canada, Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize of Columbia University, and Nobel Prize. Full bio


Asian Pacific Islander History/Heritage Books

Part Asian - 100% Hapa
Unbroken Thread
Sailors and Traders
The Open Boat
Begin Here
An Examination of Asian and Pacific Islander LGBT Populations Across the United States
White Chrysanthemum
Narrating Love and Violence
The Lowland
Ayya's Accounts

AMEMSA Films @ MiraCosta Library

The Samoan Heart

The Samoan Heart

The Samoan Heart follows two western-trained Samoan artists who embrace their heritage in their works. The Samoan Heart documents their personal journeys, struggles, and searches for self and the culture that sustains them. Part of the Pacific Diaries Series from Pacific Islanders in Communications.

Dances of Life

Dances of Life

he purpose of this film is to enhance our understanding of the cultural identity of the Pacific Islands, their civic life and their artistic achievement. Dances of Life examines dances from five island cultures: Maori, Samoan, Palauan, Chamorro (Guam), and Kanak (New Caledonia).

Skin Stories

Skin Stories

Featuring traditional tattooing ceremonies, interviews, and a collection of tattoo body art, Skin Stories traces the roots of tattoo, highlighting individual stories and the evolution of cultural traditions in the Pacific. Skin Stories is an anthology of stories and stunning images gathered from the hotspots of Pacific tattoo.

The Last Dalai Lama?

The Last Dalai Lama?

This film takes a fresh look at what is truly important for the 14th Dalai Lama as he turns 80: The ongoing confrontation between Tibetans and China; His Holiness’s influence in political and spiritual spheres; his work with educators and neuropsychologists; and his personal feelings on aging and dying.

The World Before Her

The World Before Her

The Miss India pageant is the ultimate glamour event in a country that has gone mad for beauty contests. As the beauty contestants move through beauty boot camp, Director Nicha Pahuja travels to another corner of India to visit a different camp for young girls, the women’s wing of the militant fundamentalist movement.

Inside the Chinese Closet

Inside the Chinese Closet

The tale of Andy and Cherry looking for love and happiness in Shanghai. They are homosexual but their families demand a (heterosexual) marriage and a baby from them. Because being single and childless would mean an unacceptable loss of face for their rural families in the remote countryside where they live.

The Look of Silence

The Look of Silence

A family of survivors discovers how their son was murdered and the identity of the men who killed him. The youngest brother is determined to break the silence and fear under which the survivors live, and so confronts the men responsible for his brother’s murder.

DHARAVI Slum for sale

DHARAVI Slum for sale

At the heart of the constantly growing megacity Mumbai lies Dharavi, India’s biggest slum. “Dharavi, Slum for Sale” follows the struggle between tradition and modernity and the fight of the underprivileged to defend their homes and livelihoods against mounting globalisation.

The Pursuit of Self

The Pursuit of Self

The young Chinese generation is in search of itself. This generation straddles yesterday’s society that was rooted in collectiveness, and tomorrow’s society that is much more individualistic. Photographers follow these young people in their personal lives. They are all fighting to fulfill their dreams and conquer their fears.

The Booming Maritime Edge

The Booming Maritime Edge

Guangdong: Globalization in the Pearl River Delta. This program explores globalization and the effects of modernization on Chinese society and the factors that have contributed to Taiwan's emergence as a high-tech powerhouse.

Asian Insight

Asian Insight

A series of six films that explores past and present social structures, behavioural patterns and relationships, mores, beliefs, art, architecture and artefacts of the people of Asia. Cultures spotlighted are Singapore, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, and Thailand.